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How To Change Automatic Transmission Fluid and Filter on a BMW, DIY Video

January 3, 2018

Automatic Transmission Fluid and Filter Change DIY Video


Historically, the reliability of BMW automatic transmissions has been sketchy above 100,000 miles. When we come across non-functional automatic transmissions, we usually find that the fluid and filter were not changed at regular intervals.

In the past, BMW and MINI have claimed that the automatic transmission fluids have been “lifetime” fluids and never needed changing (this goes for the filters as well).  Recently, BMW dropped the “lifetime” moniker from their fluids and filters and replaced it with “extended service.” Additionally, ZF, manufacturer of many of the BMW automatic transmissions, has officially updated their recommendations on automatic transmission servicing to reflect a minimum regular fluid change interval of 62,000 miles or more often if desired, using the approved ZF Lifeguard5, Lifeguard6 and Lifeguard8 fluids, as applicable. See the ZF Automatic Transmission oil Service Letter in the link below:

Click HERE for ZF Automatic Transmission Oil Service Letter

At a minimum, we recommend changing automatic transmission fluid and filters every other year or at 50,000 miles. (An annual fluid change would certainly do no harm.) This is the best and most cost-effective way to assure a long, trouble-free life for your BMW’s automatic transmission. You must use the proper fluid for your application. BAVauto carries all of the proper fluids and the filters.  Just click to our web site at .

In this two-part DIY video series we’re changing the fluid and filter on a 2000 BMW 528it, with 225,000 miles.  The transmission shown is the GM manufactured A5S-360R (also known as 5L40E).

Click HERE for automatic transmission fluid and filter DIY videos on other BMW models.


* The vehicle must be basically level when filling and adjusting the fluid level. Therefore, we cannot just raise the front or the rear to do this job.

* Always loosen the fill plug before removing the drain plug. This can prevent a situation where the fluid has been drained and the fill plug may not be readily removed due to corrosion or seizing. We did do this, but did not show it on the video.

* When adjusting the final fluid level, the fluid must be at operating temperature (generally, about 120 to 140-F). This can be approximated touching the bottom of the fluid pan with your open hand. You should be able to touch the pan, but not hold your hand there. Of course, an infra-red temp gun can also be used (see below).

* The general procedures shown here apply to most BMW automatic transmissions. However, other models may have different shaped fluid pans and filters (some have the filter integrated into the plastic pan and the pan is replaced) and different fill and drain plug locations.

* Other models may use different fluids … we have them all.

* The applicable Bentley repair manuals will detail the specific BMW or MINI model procedures as well as fill and drain plug locations.

Click below for digital infrared pyrometer:


* Ramps or floor jack & jack stands

* Metric Combination wrench set (one end box, one end open) 10mm through 18mm

* Bentley repair manual (click image):

Repair Manuals for BMW and MINI from Bentley Publishers available at

* Metric 3/8″ Drive socket, Allen, Torx and E-Torx set (click image):

* 1/$” and 3/8″ drive Torx Bit set (click image):

* 1/4″ and 3/8″ drive E-Torx socket set (click image):

* 3/8″ drive metric Allen Bit set (click image):


  • * Under Car Fluid Drain & Catch Pan (click image):

    * 1 Liter Fluid Transfer Pump (click image):

    * 1.5 Liter Fluid Transfer Pump (click image):

    * Power-Fill Fluid Transfer Tool (click image):

    * Oil absorbent pads (click image):

    * Garage Guard oil absorbent floor mat (click image):


Click below for automatic transmission filters and kits:

Click below for BMW and MINI automatic transmission fluid:

* Magnetic Drain Plug (click image):


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